A superfight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was never expected right out the gate when Edgar Berlanga signed with Matchroom Boxing.

Of course, the alignment certainly doesn’t hurt his chances to eventually hit the super middleweight jackpot. However, even Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn made it clear that his newly signed Nuyorican star would have to win this weekend and at least once more, but give the fans a reason to embrace him as a future challenger for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight championship.

“The fights I want, I know I have to go out there and earn them by looking spectacular,” Berlanga told BoxingScene.com. “I have a lot to prove this weekend, to the fans and most importantly to myself. I’m coming into this fight with a chip on my shoulder.”

Berlanga (20-0, 16KOs) will once again fight just a few subway stops from his Brooklyn home borough to headline at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. The unbeaten contender will face Ireland’s Jason Quigley (20-2, 14KOs) in what will mark his first fight in more than a year as well as his debut with Matchroom Boxing.

The event will mark the third straight headliner at Hulu Theater, though the previous two outings weren’t nights to remember. Berlanga looked uneven in a win over Steve Rolls last March. A ten-round win over Alexis Angulo last June 11 came at a cost, as he was suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission for an attempted bite late in their ESPN headliner.

The six-month suspension was enough to bench Berlanga through December, which cost him a slot on Top Rank’s annual post-Heisman Trophy Award boxing event in MSG’s main room. It also marked the end of his time under the Top Rank banner after more than three years with the Nevada-headquartered outfit.

Much of that time was spent with new trainers after he won his first 12 fights under the guidance of Marc Farrait, with whom he reunited for this weekend’s main event. Berlanga spent the bulk of his training camp in the same Plant City, Florida compound that led to a brilliant 12-0 start, with all twelve wins ending inside the opening round. Berlanga won his first 16 fights by knockout before he was extended the distance in each of his last four starts.

A points win over Demond Nicholson in April 2021 ended the knockout streak, though Berlanga still scored four knockdowns in a dominant showing over eight rounds. He failed to score a knockdown in each of his last three fights and was himself dropped in the ninth round of an October 2021 win over former title challenger Marcelo Coceres.

Still, Berlanga remains unbeaten and carries name value. That combination can go a long way in the lucrative super middleweight division though he prefers to earn the fights he most craves.

 “I am back with Mark Farrait, who created the monster,” noted Berlanga. “We were separated for three years but now he’s back when the timing is important, and I think you’re going to see something explosive. 

“Of course, I’d love a knockout but I’m won’t go in there just looking for it and losing focus on everything we’ve worked on. There’s a lot of focus on me and I have to go in and handle my business. I have to look sharp, fight smart and do my thing. The rest will come naturally.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox